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March 18, 2016

Kim Mulkey

Nina Davis

Kristy Wallace

Alexis Jones

Waco, Texas

Baylor - 89, Idaho - 59.

Q. Alexis, you hit a three on your first shot of the game. How much did that get you started, and you finally get to play an NCAA Tournament game for Baylor. How did it feel?
ALEXIS JONES: Hitting the first three was good, but I was excited for my guards to follow it with me, too. Hitting threes, I think we shot the three ball really well. It's just exciting to know that the whole team came out and had a lot of energy, so just really a good feeling.

Q. Kristy, 11 points in the first quarter, kind of walking through that, what was the defense giving you that you were able to exploit?
KRISTY WALLACE: They were really running a zone, so I think it was just that -- thanks to my teammates for getting me open and finding me on the baseline shot, because they were packing in the zone and taking away our bigs. So the perimeter were able to get some shots up, and I'm glad that we could produce today.

Q. Nina, they were packing the paint. How difficult was it to find room in there? It looked like later on in the game, y'all were trying to maybe penetrate and create stuff in there.
NINA DAVIS: We knew coming to the game that they were going to run a 2-3 and a 3-2 and there were going to really pack it in and force us to make shots on the outside. So us as post players, we all created tighter guard for opening up the outside. If they would have not made those threes tonight, I'm pretty sure it would have been a different game. So when started to hit the three, they cost the defense and they had to space out a little bit more, which opened up the inside for us bigs.

Q. Nina, you've been here before, and to get started like this with a good game, but having Alexis in the mix, talk about what it meant to have her out there.
NINA DAVIS: It's great just to have her on our team, for her to get her first one under her belt in the Baylor uniform. I didn't expect anything different. She's talking about it all week. She was excited before the game. She was really hyped, so we knew that she was going to come out and she was going to be on her A game. But I'm just proud of the way my team came out and the way we just took control from the get-go and we never fell behind. And I'm just excited for the rest of the tournament.

Q. Nina, speaking of the rest of the tournament, do you feel like the first game kind of helps set the tone for your run?
NINA DAVIS: Most definitely. If we would have came out sluggish or slow, we would have had to try to figure out why we started slow. And you don't have many days, you only one day in between and then we're right back at it Sunday. But to come out and just have everyone shooting well and building the confidence in the freshmen, because this was their first game, it just makes it that much easier for us to have confidence down the road.

Q. Alexis or Kristy, you heard a lot throughout the week or leading up to the game about Idaho shooting the ball well from the outside. Did you almost feel challenged yourself for what you do well to counter that and send a message early?
ALEXIS JONES: Yes, I did feel a little challenged because the three ball is always the hardest to guard because you never know when they're going to make them, you never know when they're going to miss them. And they looked like they shot it very, very well. We knew we had to come out here with our hands up at all times, and I think we did a great job of that, from letting them penetrate. And also talking on defense, I think we did a good job of defending the three ball.

KRISTY WALLACE: Yeah, defensively it was important that we shot that down. They still got up 40-something threes for the game, but that's their game, and they're very good at it. So, yeah, I'm glad we could D up and put some pressure on that three ball today.

Offensively, I think we had a good night. We went out on a run and kept it going from there.

Q. Coach, how much do you feel like a 9-43 performance defending the three -- how much of that do you think is just from constant seeing lots of three-point shooting against all the Big-12 opponents?
KIM MULKEY: I don't know that I've ever had to guard somebody who shoots 43 threes. I mean, think about that. You know, I think we're playing as good a defense as we are offensively. If you think about our last five games -- and you can go check this out to make sure I'm correct -- we're holding, in those last five games that we've been playing pretty good, we've shot over 50 percent from the field, but we've also defended. I don't think anybody has shot higher than 39 percent against us in the last five games. And so when you're doing that on both ends of the floor, you're going to be pretty special.

But when I looked at that stat sheet, 43, that's just -- they run an offense that's just hard to defend, and they challenged us to shoot the wide-open jumpers. We've got shooters. It's just we've got bigs, and I'm not about to become a perimeter shooting team. I'm not going to live and die by the three. We didn't get as many post touches as we would like because of the zone that they were playing. But when you can nail threes, we're going to let you shoot it.

Q. Coach, this win is just a small notch in a potential long tournament run. How do you keep the girls focused on the long haul?
KIM MULKEY: I don't look at it as a small notch. A lot of people got beat today. Obama is the kiss of death. Did you see Michigan State got beat? Didn't he pick them to go to the Final Four? So I was kind of glad he didn't pick us.

We sit out here, we watch who we're going to play on Sunday, and we get back in this gym, get back in the film room in the morning. Can't do a whole lot on the floor, but you get their attention for the next opponent. You show them all the upsets on the men's side and on the women's side, and just keep them motivated. Keep them rested, and keep them fresh.

I think our bench has as much to do with it as anybody. Kalani and Kristy -- good grief, I really don't have a bench. I just can only play five at a time. It really does help when you have that much depth, and Beatrice, you know, she has the subluxation of her shoulder, has had it since high school. And this thing will pop out, and she sits there and works it and pops it back in. So she's good to go and could have played but she'll be sore. The last time it popped out, I think we were on the road at TCU in practice. In case you were going to ask me that question, she's good to go. At some point she'll have to have surgery on that. I've had one other athlete at Louisiana Tech that had to have surgery on that, but she just pops it back in and she's ready to go.

Q. They scored 21 in that second quarter after you held them to 9. Was that your defense relaxing, or was that them just kind of hitting some shots?
KIM MULKEY: A little of both. I think we got the big lead, and I started subbing early, and I just think that they hit some shots. In fact, I think there were two threes right there in a row where we were up 21 and they cut it to 15. I called a quick time-out just to relax us. I thought we really came out of the gates like race horses. I mean, we were raring to go. But you just needed to take a deep breath right there.

You shoot 43, you're going to make some.

Q. Are you going to vote for Obama in the upcoming election?
KIM MULKEY: You're going to remember that the rest of your life.

Q. I will.
KIM MULKEY: I'm going to run for president before it's over.

Q. You've got my vote. Coach Newlee was saying he thought you were the second best team coming into the tournament, and he said Geno and UConn should look out. Are you worried hearing that sort of stuff maybe gets them a little too amped up kind of reaffirming that they're really good?
KIM MULKEY: I'm not worried about it, but this business will humble you. I won't ever forget some losses when we were supposed to win the national championship. I won't ever forget some victories when we were just a nobody.

They know they're good. They know. They don't have to hear it from other people. They know that they're on a roll. They know that we have depth. They know that we're healthy. Just going to lace them up and see how far we can take it.

But, yeah, I do think that we're as good as anybody else in the country with the exception of Connecticut. I can't put us with Connecticut because until somebody knocks them off their perch, they're the best. We would sure love an opportunity to play them in a Final Four, but nobody else has been able to do it and beat them.

Q. I know it's a whole team, but how significant is it for Alexis to come in and have the kind of game she had to come in and start her NCAA Tournament career with you guys?
KIM MULKEY: Alexis, she's just finally getting back to where she was before her knees were injured. It's difficult to transfer into a program that has a lot of talent. You're trying to find your way. And then when you add two injuries on top of it, it takes time. Frustration has set in with her, with me, with everybody through the year. Because you want her to come back quickly and be what she was before, but realistically it takes time. Wow, what a great time for her to start playing the way she is. I think it started a month or so ago. And it's not just shooting the ball, it's her assist-to-turnover ratio. She wasn't good today, it was 5-4. But it's also defense, and when you have those kind of injuries on your knees, it takes away a lot of your lateral quickness, so she's got to learn to anticipate things that maybe she never had to do before. She just makes us a better basketball team.

Q. As you alluded, you've been through this a while. How does the first game fit into the overall picture? Does it help kind of set the tone?
KIM MULKEY: I think it does for those that are doing it for the first time. You look at the juniors and seniors, this is what they've been doing. But for the freshmen and those kids like even Alexis Jones, this is her first time to do this. As we put on the board, you just scratch off another one and see if we can't just keep scratching off another victory.

I can't tell you how happy I am that our fans get to stay close to home. A lot of our fans -- guys, they take their money -- their budget is limited and their money is spent on Lady Bear basketball, and those NCAA tickets are not cheap. Those hotel rooms are not cheap. And for us to be in this region helps our fans. I hope that we can live up to doing some things that they will be proud of because we certainly had success in this region before, and we've had disappointments. But we'll fight hard.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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